November 19, 2018

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    Refocusing the Police to promote National Unity and Reconciliation

    August 07, 2018

    In a landmark event, the Inspector General for Police (IGP) and the Secretary General of SCRM and signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to allocate 52mln worth of funds to implement and run the project named 'Refocusing of Community Policing Committees to promote National Unity and Reconciliation Dialogue', aiming to create an excellent platform through Community Policing Committees (CPC) to communicate and receive information about the reconciliation agenda of the government and to start grassroots national unity, co-existence and reconciliation dialogues to ensure the communal and religious harmony.

    The CPCs are well established organizational structures under the Sri Lanka Police with the active participation and help of the Ministry of Public Administration & Management and Law & Order. There are 14068 Community Policing Committees currently operating, covering all the GN divisions Island-wide. These committees were originally established to enlist the help of villages to ensure village security during the conflict. CPCs currently focus on Drug Prevention, Prevention of Child Abuse and Sexual Violence, and Dengue Prevention activities.

      

    In terms of the Administration Circular No.11/2016 dated 23rd September 2016, CPC's, in furtherance of their national security objective, are required to be vigilant on any threats to national security, conduct programs promoting communal and religious harmony and establish a communication network.

    Accordingly, Sri Lanka police officials have agreed to run a project to strengthen the capacities of CPC's through the community engaging dialogue series in order to serve as a grassroots engagement platform to convey the government's reconciliation agenda and its achievements, using a tried and true existing grassroots structure; CPC to serve as a feedback mechanism to obtain ideas on decisions the government proposes to enact, and has enacted and to avoid the spreading of racism and misinformation at the village level, thus preventing conflict and contributing to reconciliation at both the local and national levels.                      

    These goals would be achieved partly by discussing the government's reconciliation agenda with local villagers and village leaders and by reporting the results of this discussion to the relevant authorities in the government and partly by giving a large number of stakeholders across the country a platform to engage in constructive debate, which will lead to the inculcation of a better, more informed, progressive population.

    The MoU is expected to build a team of peacemakers at district and/or divisional secretariat level to promote the national unity, reconciliation and coexistence dialogue of the Government of Sri Lanka. The peacemakers will be used as resource persons in village level CPC meetings.

    For this training, a group of fifty five (55) officers from and amongst Public Relation Officers and the Officers in Charge of the Community Policing Units will be selected per province. The group of trained officers will conduct awareness raising campaigns covering each police station level, island wide. Accordingly, there will be four hundred ninety five (495) (approximately) awareness raising campaigns island wide.

    The program will continue for a period of five (5) months in 2018 in the following locations; Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Kandy, Rathnapura, Matara, Gampaha, Badulla, Kaluthara and Galle, with possible extension in 2019.

    The SCRM will discuss with relevant line ministries and agencies such as the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) who are involved in the implementation of reconciliation related activities in constructing a practical program within the aforementioned allocation.

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